How to interview arts professionals

A five-step guide to make those interviews less awkward and more fruitful. 

How to interview arts professionals

Gold Arts Award requires not only the development of new creative and professional arts skills, students also get the opportunity to explore different arts career pathways. What better way to feel equipped in the arts world than to talk to arts practitioners?

However, interviewing arts professionals isn’t always that easy. If unprepared, the process can be awkward or embarrassing. But this shouldn’t let an opportunity go amiss, so here’s a simple-to-follow guide for your own arts interviews.  

1. Who? 💁

Think: how can I grow from this? Unit 1 is all about developing your own arts practice, so start to consider which arts professionals could help you advance your artistic skills.

If you’re main art form is dance, think about interviewing dance school teachers, retired dancers, budding dancers in different genres as well as those who have made the stage professionally. Similarly if you’re focussing on creative writing, interview a range of writers: novelists, biographers, news journalists, freelancers… 

The “who?” is imperative to consider when approaching your interviews because it will help define the “what?” 👇🏽

2. What? 🤔

Now you’ve identified who you want to contact, it’s the time to ask why, and what?

You might contact arts professionals for a plethora of reasons. If you are seeking a similar career, ask questions which may investigate their career pathway and route into the sector. You might find the Want My Job Voicebox helpful. Alternatively, you may be looking to expand your artistic horizons and simply discover more about different jobs within one art form. 

Aims are key here. Refer back to your initial project aims and the plan you created at the beginning of your Arts Award. How will these interviews help fulfill those aims?

3. Go local 🌍

So now you’ve decided what kind of arts professional to contact and why you’re contacting them, it’s time to narrow down who you’ll be interviewing. 

This could be the trickiest part. It can be intimidating approaching arts professionals, but it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps you have no idea of where to find the type of people to interview. This is where you employ those sneaky research skills which you’ll be using in your arts debate in Unit 1 Part D…

Charities. Schools nearby. Local businesses. Colleges. If you have a music or dance teacher then no doubt they’ll know practitioners in a similar field. Don’t be afraid to reach out on the Contact Us page on a website, or send a DM on Instagram. Most of the time, you’ll be boosting their ego!

4. Chill out 💺

It may be easier to conduct an interview over email or phone, however if you’ve arranged a face-to-face interview then you may be able to gain a more personal insight into their arts career.

Being prepared may sound cliche but it’s important to prevent you getting flustered or tripping over your words. Prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask, and if you think of more throughout the interview then even better! Check out this how-to guide for more tips on preparing for your interview.

Also - don’t forget to be yourself and have fun! If you’re relaxed, then your interviewee will be too. Laugh, smile, ask some unusual questions. The more interested you are in their career, you’ll probably be able to glean more fascinating facts. 

5. Evaluation is key ✍🏽

Yep, the “e” word is here again. Evaluating your interview simply means taking an overview of Unit 1 Part C, and asking yourself: what did I learn?

You may be racking your brain thinking: not much. Alternatively you might realise you had no idea that such jobs in the arts existed and have started to contemplate that career pathway. Consider, what was the one element in this interview that particularly struck me? Ask: if I had to choose one intriguing fact about this person’s career, what would it be? Often these questions will act as a starting point for an evaluation.

If you're after more tips for your Gold Arts Award, make sure you check out the Gold Hub


  • Julia Williams

    On 30 October 2019, 06:45 Julia Williams commented:

    Thanks for this, my students are doing Silver Arts Award and will be visiting The Half Moon Theatre in a few weeks, this will give them some guidance of what to discuss with the staff at the theatre.

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